Making the Rounds: Random Offseason News

ESPN: Air Force is joining the in on the barage of football games at Yankee Stadium and will take on Army in 2012.  Also, Notre Dame is possibly looking at scheduling TCU, but not in 2010 as some suggest.   That game, if scheduled, would be a one and down if the money is high enough and might be in either 2011 or 2012.

Kelly Lyell, The Coloradoan: The Rams finally get back safety Klint Kubiak after he had a right ankle sprain that cost him five games and torn ligament in his left knee that cost him two more.

Kubiak was one of the teams leader last year and should be able to help improve a defense that was last in the Mountain West.

Jake Schaller, The Gazatte: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson at the annual media days was still fighting the fight against the BCS.  Thompson believes the league must prove it on the field but had this to say about the BCS:

“If we don’t do well, they’ll say, ‘Yup, see, they can’t do it. They’re not there,’If we do have success, they’ll say, ‘Maybe they’re right, maybe they can play at this level.’ … It is what it is. We know we have to win games.”

On the field performance is the key for the Mountain West to have a chance of inclusion to the BCS, but even that may not be enough because the rules for BCS inclusion are so vague. However if the league is able to continue its 2008 success then the BCS will have to include the MWC.

Lya Wodraska, Salt Lake Tribune: The Utes picked up another recruit in Star Lotulelei who is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman. He was planning on going to BYU but while at Snow College communication was lost, so Lotulelei ended up at Utah.

“BYU didn’t stay in touch with me,” he said. “I heard from the Utah coaches, both coach (Jay) Hill and (Kalani) Sitake stayed in touch with me. I’m excited, Utah is close to home so my family will be able to see me a lot.”

Looks like Utah was able to snag this recruit from BYU, but it may not have mattered because BYU has only a few scholarships left for the2010 season.  That could be why BYU did not keep in touch.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News: The bottom of the Mountain West is looking form someway to catch the Big three — BYU, Utah, and TCU.  Air Force looks to be the closest with the resurgence from new head coach Troy Calhoun.

UNLV and Colorado State are making strides but are still not there. The rest New Mexico, Wyoming, and San Diego State, are hoping that their new hires will be the move that gets them over the top. New Mexico head coch Mike Locklsey believes the difference is not that large:

“Now, having been indoctrinated into the league as a head coach, you see that there is the Air Force Academy, Colorado State, and UNLV is nipping at your heels. New Mexico? I didn’t know much about it, but when you look at the run New Mexico’s had over the last 10 years, they’ve won as many conference games as some of the Big Three as we’ve talked about.”

Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union Tribune: The Aztecs have finally reached a ten year deal to keep San Diego State in Qualcomm Stadium.  The 2008 season had the Aztecs playing in the stadium without a lease, but Qualcomm allowed them to play the season while working on a new deal.

Qualcomm was weary about  a new lease because of they were losing about 30,000 dollars per game, below is the basics for the new deal:

“Under the new lease, SDSU will pay the city about $95,000, including the $30,000 in additional expenses and an estimated $15,000 from the added surcharge. Most tickets will include the surcharge except for student tickets and some others.”

This is a relief for the Aztecs, because without this they would have no place to play.  The surcharge is going to be just one dollar per ticket to all sporting events to cover the rest of the costs.

Joey Nowak San Diego Union Tribune: Head coach Brady Hoke is doing a great job in recruiting and so far has a verbal commit from four star quarterback Tyler Bray.  He also is the fourteenth rated pro style quarterback and is the 229th ranked player in the 2010 class.

His choice game down to San Diego State, USC, and Tennessee and his decision came down to where other top quarterback recruit Jesse Scroggins was going.  Scroggins chose USC which made Bray’s decision easier.  Here is what his high school coach Dace Steele had to say on his choice:

“I think (Bray) felt he had a good opportunity to come in and be productive fairly early in his career at (SDSU). The program is in the right direction, so I was excited for him when he decided that’s what he wanted to do.”

Even though Bray has said his choice is firm Tennessee is still pursing Bray, because the Vols lost out on the Scroggins sweepstakes.

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San Diego State Still on the Hook for Chuck Long

The Doc makes a great analogy in comparing former San Diego State coach Chuck Long to the employee challenged George Costanza, from Seinfeld as if you did not all ready know that.

The gist is that Costanza was fired for faking an injury and using an electronic cart, but since he had a contract with Play-Now he was offered six months pay to quit.

However the sneaky Costanza opted against that since he would be paid the entirety if he showed up everyday, so the company made it miserable for him as he did show up everyday.

On to the Chuck Long story he was canned last year and received a buyout since he still had a few years left on his deal, but that is not the story here.  The difference here is that  Long still has an office on campus which is real odd, and doing who knows what.

His contract states that he will be paid as long as he has works at the University:

“SDSU hired Kelley to mediate a way out of Long’s contract, which ensures him $715,900 per year through Dec. 31, 2010. Long was fired as football coach in November, but his contract guarantees him his full salary while continuing work at the university. Since he was fired, Long has kept office hours on campus doing “projects and analysis.”

His contract is unusual in that it contains a clause saying he is entitled to no further compensation once he lands a new job. In effect, this creates an incentive for Long to stay at SDSU because no other likely job would pay him nearly as much.

That outside consultant is being paid $125 per hour to work out a settlement, but the real question is who made this deal.   Somehow this clause that would only pay Long as long as he was not employed elsewhere was designed to save the school money.

Huh?!?

The reason that Long is reporting each day is that their is no assistant coaching job — unless you are  at Tennessee — that would pay him more then his $715,900.

Plus, there is no one going to hire Chuck Long as a head coach any time soon, so who can blame him to report each day and this is the reason San Diego has not been relevant since Marshall Faulk.

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Really Lyndy’s?

All the preseason magazines are out by now  and this is not a post to compare who is ranked where, but more of an error I found in the Lindys preseason issue.   Of course it regards to the Mountain West, and the error is that way back in July the league announced that in 2009 they would be in the Humanitarian Bowl.

My math may not be strong but that was nearly a year ago, and these mags are finished in mid May, and the other thing I noticed is that on the all-conference teams includes Air Force running back Asher Clark who is listed on the second team.

The problem with that is that Asher Clark is converting to Quarterback after playing his freshman year at running back.

This last point is not an error, but it might as well be which is that Lindy’s has San Diego State predicted to finish 6th!

This is a team that has NEVER been to a bowl game in the existance of the Mountain West, and last year went 2-10, oh and they have a whole new staff.

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Early Recruiting: San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs need all the help they can get to get out of the MWC basement.  A new coaching staff and being in the southern California hotbed for football should be able to lure in a few good recruits.  This list below are players considering the Aztecs, but one really has to wonder how many of these players on the list because of the location of San Diego State.

The good news for San Diego State is that this list includes over 30 athletes from California, and that is the way for the Aztecs to make it back to respectability in the league.

2010 Players Considering – San Diego State
NAME POS HT WT SCHOOL RANK GRADE STATUS NOTES
Dustin Alewine DE 6-2 212 Capistrano Valley H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
George Bell WR 6-2 190 Southwestern College (CA) JC Undeclared
Keorris Berry OLB 5-11 210 Desert Pines H.S. (NV) 40 Undeclared
Brandon Bialkowski QB 6-0 187 Gilbert H.S. (AZ) 40 Undeclared
Brandon BowlesPlayer Has Film FB 5-9 245 Skyline H.S. (TX) 70 Undeclared
Lamar Bratton OG 6-1 259 John W. North H.S. (CA) 77 Undeclared
Travis Brewster RB 5-8 187 Horn H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Kyle Brooks RB 5-10 168 Quartz Hill H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Deone BucannonPlayer Has Film S 6-2 180 Vanden H.S. (CA) 77 Undeclared
Jesse Bueno WR 6-0 168 El Toro H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Victor Burnett ILB 5-11 218 Culver City H.S. (CA) 77 Undeclared
Bobby Calvin RB 5-10 215 Goldwater H.S. (AZ) 40 Undeclared
Chad Dashnaw QB 6-4 215 Vasquez H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Edward Dillihunt WR 5-11 195 Tulare Union H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
Bryan Douglas CB 5-10 156 Narbonne H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Quincy Enuwa WR 6-2 192 Rancho Verde H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Twin Fernandes S 5-11 177 Los Alamitos H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Ricky Galvin RB 5-8 165 Berkeley H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
Jourdon Grandon ATH 6-0 180 Westview H.S. (AZ) 40 Undeclared
Malik HendersonPlayer Has Film ATH 5-8 184 Stockdale H.S. (CA) 72 Undeclared
Jessie Hobbs S 5-9 175 Serra H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
King Holder WR 5-9 148 Oceanside H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Andrew Hudson DE 6-3 214 Redlands East Valley H.S. (CA) 73 Undeclared
Henry Hunter QB 5-11 209 Sachse H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Xavian Johnson QB 5-11 172 Cheyenne H.S. (NV) 40 Undeclared
Andrew Lachelt QB 6-2 177 Ontario Christian H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
David Lamar WR 6-2 175 Madison H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Sean Linton WR 6-2 181 Helix H.S. (CA) 70 Undeclared
Lou Mele ILB 5-10 208 Patriot H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Kyle Middlebrooks RB 5-9 176 Fountain Valley H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
Marc Millan TE 6-0 201 Mission Viejo H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Wesley Miller S 5-10 175 San Joaquin Mem H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Tyler Musco RB 5-8 148 Westview H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Eduardo Nevarez OT 6-5 357 Compton H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Evan Newton DT 6-6 320 Faith Lutheran H.S. (NV) 40 Undeclared
Aaron Norton-Burford DE 6-3 200 Berkeley H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Femi Odaibo WR 6-0 168 Beaumont H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Gianni Olivas ATH 5-10 176 Upland H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Shane Pennix DT 6-4 256 Valhalla H.S. (CA) 77 Undeclared
Victor Perez QB 6-6 212 Chula Vista H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Zach Perron DT 6-6 258 Saint Joseph H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
David PilandPlayer Has Film QB 6-2 177 Carroll H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Avery Poates OG 6-4 308 Rancho Verde H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
A.J. Powell CB 5-8 170 Charter Oak H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
William Purcell ILB 6-2 210 Legacy H.S. (NV) 40 Undeclared
Lucky Radley RB 5-8 191 Agoura H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
Leslie Rogers ATH 6-0 jlj175 Point Loma H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Brian Roth OT 6-5 277 El Toro H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Drake Sarconi OLB 6-0 187 Mission Viejo H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Emery SchexnayderPlayer Has Film RB 6-0 211 Palo Verde H.S. (NV) 40 Undeclared
Kenneth ScottPlayer Has Film WR 6-2 180 Colony H.S. (CA) 76 Undeclared
Adonis Smith RB 5-11 180 Serra H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
Derron Smith ATH 5-11 164 Banning H.S. (CA) 74 Undeclared
B.J. Sonboli OG 6-3 299 Los Osos (CA) 40 Undeclared
Shakeel Timmons OG 6-3 310 Carter H.S. (TX) 40 Undeclared
Blair Tushaus OC 6-2 267 Notre Dame Prep H.S. (AZ) 74 Undeclared
Ryan Verdugo QB 6-0 182 Chino Hills H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Austin WilbersPlayer Has Film TE 6-2 210 Cherry Creek H.S. (CO) 75 Undeclared
Sam Williams DT 5-10 257 Leuzinger H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared
Ricardo Wright CB 5-8 155 Mira Costa H.S. (CA) 40 Undeclared

Spring Recap: San Diego State Aztecs

2008 was known as year of the injury, with nearly everyone injured on offense and defense.  Freshman and Sophomores were forced into playing time which resulted to their two win campaign.

New  Coach Brady Hoke is looking to toughen up the team on both sides of the ball.

Not only were they bad the Aztecs were nearly the worst team in FBS.  The Aztecs ranked 117th out of 119 teams in rushing offense last season and 118th in rushing defense.

Brady Hoke brings over his offense from Ball State which ranked 17th nationally in offense, in comparison to San Diego State who was 99th in total offense.

The defense looks strong as former New Mexico coach, Rocky Long, is now the new defensive coordinator.  The new defense is the odd ball 3-3-5 which brings in misdirection and blitzing from nearly every position.

The premise of the defense is to cause misdirection and confusion against the opposing offense.  During spring scrimmages the defense looked strong by continually getting sacks and tackles for loss.

The loan bright spot on the offense is quarterback Ryan Lindley who passed for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns.  Most of those stats were from behind, but their is reason to be optimistic since Lindley was an accurate passer and had 9 interceptions.

The running game is wide ope with Davon Brown, Atiyyah Henderson and Brandon Sullivan all competing for the starting job.  Henderson was the lead back last year, but managed only 490 yards however he did average 4.1 yards per carry.

To be successful the Aztecs must develop a solid running game, so opposing defenses need to be honest.  The new offense that Hoke is bringing to San Diego State should eventually bring success to the only school that has not been to a bowl game in the conferences ten year history.

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Making the Rounds

Jeremy Crabtree, Rivals.com: Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham talks about his recruiting process for Utah.  With Utah not being in a major conference has its troubles in recruiting highly touted high school players.  The Utes have been getting better talent from Utah with players as Paul Kruger, his younger player David Kruger, and then this year getting the number one ranked junior college player from Snow College in James Aiona.

“With our philosophy, we try to recruit the raw material – athleticism and speed are the priority. Ideally, you want big-framed guys that can run and are athletic. That’s the starting point. I think our assistant coaches have done a very good job of finding those type of players.”

Utah even with their success over the past five years, they still have to find the right player who they can coach up and who will fit their system.  Even in saying that their success has opened the door to some players they may  not have been able to get into, and can compete with almost every school out West.

Graham Watson, ESPN.Com: BYU is looking to have more options on offense instead of just passing to Austin Collie deep,  running Harvey Unga up the middle, or tight ends running an out pattern.  BYU plans on running a little bit of the option and varying their offense

The obvious difference is that star wide receiver Austin Collie is gone, but his absence has allowed a lot more wide receivers to get into the mix. I spent part of practice looking up numbers of guys not on the two-deep depth chart who were running great routes and making nice catches.

With these new changes on offense BYU should be able to be more efficient on offense and not as predictable when the team is struggling, and be able to bring something different to the table.

Mike McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: New defensive coordinator Rocky Long is looking for a player to play the ‘Aztec’ spot in his wacky 3-3-5 defense.  While at New Mexico the position was called ‘Lobo’ and that position calls for the player to be able to be versatile.

“It’s got to be someone who’s capable of being a multidimensional player, someone who can play defensive back in coverage but also be able to drop down into the box and play linebacker.”

San Diego just started spring practice last week, so no player has been named to the Aztec position.  One thing to consider is if SDSU actually has the athlete to play that position up to the standards of Rocky Long.

1280 the Zone:  Interview with BYU linebacker Jan Jorgensen

Interview with Utah Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake

Interview with BYU QB Coach Brandon Doman

Mario Trujillo, The Daily Lobo: The new offense being installed by Mike Locksley will now require the offensive lineman to be more fit then the past.  Locksley was previously at Illinois where the Illini ran a no-huddle and hurry up offense which means the lineman must be in better shape when they line up.

“We are rarely in the huddle,” Degory said. “We are constantly at the ball. We are going to grind people down in the third and fourth quarter and take full advantage of that.  We would love to rotate, but our concerns are with depth,” he said. “We want to make sure that if we put a No. 2 in there, we don’t miss a stride.”

The ideal goal is to wear down the opponents late in the game, but if New Mexico does not have the horses to do the no-huddle for most of the game then it does no good.  This new offense could get the Lobos over the hump, because they have always had the defense.

Kelly Lyell, The Coloradoan: The Rams are without top linebackers from 2008 with Ricky Brewer who is suspended and then Jeff Horinek who graduated the past year.  This spring practice is revealing that the new corp of linebackers should be able to step in right away and not s a step, and they actually could be better.

“Kawulok is a very good, smart, steady football player,” said Larry Kerr, CSU’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. “Right now, if I had to rank the players at linebacker, he’d be our second-best player. (Mychal) Sisson would be No. 1, and Kawulok would be second.”

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Spring Football Preview: San Diego State Aztecs

Spring practice starts: April 8

Spring game: May 2

Three Things to watch

  1. New head coach Brady Hoke was responsible for Ball State’s turnaround, and will have his hands full in San Diego.  The Aztecs have not had a winning season since leaving the WAC to form the Mountain West in 1998.  The Aztecs do have two great assistants in former New Mexico head coach Rocky Long who is now the teams defensive coordinator.   The other is offensive coordinator Al Borges formerly held the same position at Auburn from 2004-2007.  Turn around in one year is not expected, but this staff should be able to get the Aztecs more competitive in the next two years.
  2. The offense really  needs work, but quarterback Ryan Lindley did a good job with limited playmakers and is expected to run the new offense. The Aztecs were short on playmakers last season. Leading receiver Vincent Brown returns as does top running threat Atiyyah Henderson.
  3. San Diego State’s defense was one of the worst in the country in nearly every category.  New defensive coordinator Rocky Long will bring over his 3-3-5 defense and make it an attacking defense.  The Aztecs may not have all the players to fully implement this defense in 2009, but they should be better.

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